You Could Be A Boomer
It sounds like a joke Jeff Foxworthy might come up with, but it's not.
Instead, it's a rather ironic twist of fate.
People born between 1944-1964 are typically referred to as the Baby Boomer generation. Since it's become common to shorten everything, those folks are now known as Boomers. The name derives from the explosion of births that took place at the end of World War II and after.
Boomers are currently, then, between the ages of 56-76. They are the aging parents, grandparents and maybe even great grandparents of the youngest generations, Y or the Millennials, and Z. The Millennials are now between 26-40, while Zers are between 5-25.
The Millennials have caused quite a societal stir as a disruptive force, particularly in the workplace, where they have caused businesses if not entire industries to rethink everything from the office space to job assignments. Millennials seem to get blamed and praised for everything. They also seem to be thought as younger than they really are, but at this point, the Millennials have moved into that stage of life where more and more responsibility comes to bear through forming of family, thus needing to work to provide, and through societal shifts in general.
Those who know their history, though, will note that another generation, the Boomers, was once looked at similarly. A case could be made that all generations, when they are younger, are looked upon as whippersnappers or wunderkind, simply because youth tends to bring fresh eyes, a boredom with the status quo, and the benefit of hindsight and the ability to build upon the existing foundation laid by those who came before.
In the case of the Boomers, this is the generation responsible for Woodstock and other gatherings, Make Love Not War, hippies and free love, fight the Man, etc., etc.. They were the ones who wanted to be free to do as they pleased. They were the counter to the status quo, the revolutionaries, the trendsetters.
And for quite some time, they changed the course of society. Some would say for the better, and others, would say the exact opposite. Both are probably right, depending on the subject matter and the circumstances.
But guess what? Just like their parents and grandparents before them, the Boomers grew up. Many of them became respectable, responsible adults. Not everyone was trying to form communes or live off the land, and it didn't take long after folks began dying from drug overdoses or other types of overindulgences for others to realize that too much of what might be considered a good thing isn't necessarily good.
Gradually, those Boomers went from revolutionaries and societal shifters to leaders. They became the Man. While they brought with them their ideals and unique perspectives forged in those earlier years of free love, etc., the reality of life forced even them to some startling realizations—disrupting isn't so difficult when your young, single and headstrong, but governing or leading is hard, especially when the new round of youth don't like being led by the nose or appreciate all that's "been done for them."
The non-comformists have become the ones wishing everyone else would conform. They are the old, the outdated, the ones who should step aside and allow those with more youth, pep and new answers to take over.
I look at who the Boomers were and who the Millennials are and I see quite a bit of things in common. Neither of them appreciated the status quo, so they set about to change it. Some consciously, some as a matter of course, an individual at a time.
Thus, the ironic twist of fate.
"Okay, Boomer," has become a new catchphrase, a put down a younger person might throw at someone older who can't or cares not to grasp what the younger person believes or knows to be fact, like the reality of manmade Climate Change, or how technology is going to transform the world for the better. "Okay, Boomer," doesn't even need to be directed to actual Boomers. Generation X, the one directly following the Boomers and the one I belong to, is just as likely to get hit as we continue to age, too.
As the years go by, the Generation yet to be named (those born after 2016), will look at the Millennials one day as absolute fossils and will find something they want changed and someway to change it. I wonder if anyone then will remember just what the Millennials disrupted, and how they opened the door for the No Name (not yet) Generation to follow suit?
If history is any indicator of where things are heading, the answer would be no. Millennials will become The Man and will fall into the same pitfalls and turbulence governing creates, and the youngest generation will never fully appreciate what's come before simply because they will want to blaze their own trails, rather than conform.
All we have to do is wait another 10-20 years to see if it comes true.
"Okay, Millennial," works just as well as "Okay, Boomer," as far as I'm concerned. I'm sure they'll have something shorter and snappier by then.
"Chill Mill," maybe?